Monday, May 23

British arrested in Iran “completely shut down” after losing access to the phone | Iran

Anoosheh Ashoori, one of the British-Iranian dual citizens held in Tehran’s Evin Prison, lost access to a telephone, depriving him, according to his wife, of his lifeline to sanity and the outside world. .

His wife, Sherry, told The Guardian: “He is completely disconnected, and the daily phone conversations were his way to sanity and what was going on in the world, including how the campaign for his release was going. It completely depends on those calls. ”He had previously attempted suicide in prison.

The British ambassador in Tehran, Rob Macaire, has made representations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, but there has been no response.

Anoosheh, 66, a retired engineer and father of two, is serving ten years in prison for allegedly spying for Israel, charges he has denied. He usually manages to talk to his wife who lives in London for up to 20 minutes a day in two or three calls, depending on how much phone time he can buy other prisoners.

He has sent some recorded messages for transmission to the outside world, mainly pleading with Boris Johnson to do more to secure his release and insisting that he is being held as a state hostage. He has given first-hand accounts of a typical day in Evin and warned of the spread of the coronavirus in prison early last year.

It is understood that the Iranian authorities strongly opposed a message in Farsi just before Christmas that drew the attention of the Persian media to the spread of Covid in prison and their own treatment. He also sent two other Farsi messages about the impact of the prison on the breakdown of families, in contrast to the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the children of Iranian officials abroad. His wife did not distribute them to protect her safety. Iranian officials may have overheard the messages.

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He appears to have lost access to a telephone for more than fifteen days.

Another British-Iranian dual national, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been under house arrest at her parents’ home in Tehran and is wearing a badge, is waiting to find out if she will be allowed to return to London on March 7, when her five The one-year sentence expires or you will face a second series of charges.

Le Figaro reported this week that Iran had confiscated a French-Iranian and a German earlier this month. They may have been used as leverage prior to the sentencing of an Iranian diplomat, Assadolah Assadi, in Belgium on February 4.

Earlier in the week, 58 countries led by Canada signed a statement deploring the detention of foreign nationals for political purposes. The statement did little to define hostage diplomacy, and countries like Iran are adept at creating conspiratorial links between the accused.

In recent weeks, the plight of dual-national detainees has become a more important feature of Western statements about the possibility of the United States returning to the Iran nuclear deal, but their fate is unlikely to become a determining factor in the success of those conversations.

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